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Survival Skills

How to make paracord bootlaces – check out the videos!

It's easy to make durable bootlaces from paracord.
How to make paracord bootlaces – check out the videos!

If survival gear is part of your wardrobe, you’ll be more prepared for an emergency. Check out the video on how to make boot or shoe laces out of  paracord.

by Leon Pantenburg

I replaced all my boot laces with paracord.

I replaced all my boot laces with paracord. (Pantenburg photo)

One of the first things I do to a new pair of boots or hiking shoes is to replace the standard laces with those made of paracord.

The reasoning is simple: If I ever need a piece of paracord, I can use one of my shoe laces.

Paracord, or parachute line,  is made up of a tubular case containing seven pieces of thinner nylon threads, according to survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt, each of which can be further separated into three even finer threads. Tensile strength of a piece of line is 550 lbs.  The tensile strength of one piece of the inner thread is about 35 lbs. The tensile strength of the very smallest fibers is probably around 8 or 9 lbs.

At this point, he says, the material is useful as a dental floss substitute, sewing thread, fishing line and even suture material. (To learn more about paracord, check out Peter Kummerfeldt’s  story.)

Making bootlaces is simplicity itself: Cut the paracord to fit, them fuse the ends with a match or lighter.

Here’s a few tips to make that easier.

  • Once the cord is cut, slide  the covering back about half an inch, and cut off the threads.
  • Slightly twist the covering, and apply heat from a match or open flame of some kind.
  • Further twist the warmed covering into a hardened, pointed end.

There is also another way to fix the end by using some shrink tubing  from Radio Shack – check out both videos below.

And that’s it. A paracord boot lace will outlast a standard boot by far, since the threads wear out and break individually. Subsequently, a bootlace will last until the last thread is finally worn out.

Paracord comes in all colors, and I particularly like the reflector florescent orange paracord. It is easily seen, and you can uses pieces of it to mark a trail in the dark. It is also highly visible in camp, to keep you from tripping over a tent stake or tarp fastening.

Wilderness and urban survival all boils down to common sense, and being prepared. If you integrate survival items into your wardrobe and every day carry routine, you won’t have to scrounge for survival tools  during an emergency.

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Survival Skills

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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